It is interesting, and at first sight surprising, that over the years the numbers of active participants at our bienniel meetings have remained static at around 700-900, when membership numbers and the growth of the subject have been steadily increasing. The reasons for this may be partly related to the fact that the numbers of scientific meetings have multiplied to the extent that we have to be increasingly selective in deciding which meetings to attend if we are to spend any time at the bench. Other factors include the slow erosion of funding for science which has been occurring in many countries and that the venues for our I.S.N. meetings have tended to be held in exotic and expensive places.

Nevertheless there are some good arguments in favour of holding meetings in exotic "far-away" places. For example, Graham Johnston, in his reply to my request for his views about the Sydney meeting, commented that some 150 Australian neuroscientists had attended - considerably more than were regular attendees at local society meetings. He was clearly delighted to conclude that holding the meeting there was of enormous benefit in stimulating interest and activity in neurochemistry, particularly amongst young scientists in that part of the world. Similar views were expressed by Laufer about the large number of young South American scientists who benefitted from the meeting in La Guaira. This surely fulfills one of the major objectives of ISN, and goes a long way to justify the expense of holding meetings in relatively remote countries.

Australia by any standards must be classed as a developed country ; we have held only one meeting in what can be reasonably described as a developing country (Venezuela) and the emphasis in the future (bearing in mind our overall objective to foster our subject globally) should be to hold more meetings in deprived or developing countries.

The Society is increasingly active in its attempts to implement its objectives. For example, $ 120,000 was spent on travel grants for the Sydney meeting, helping over 100 young scientists to attend. Of that amount, $ 60,000 was donated by FIDIA and $ 60,000 by I.S.N. Unfortunately the current world economic recession has made it impossible for FIDIA to maintain its contribution, so the Society allocated $ 70,000 for travel grants to the 1993 meeting in Montpellier. The annual budget for Small Conferences is a flexible $ 35,000 and some priority is given to applicants from deprived or developing countries.

Two new initiatives are worth noting. In February-March 1992, the Society funded a practical training course in Mexico City on techniques in Molecular Neurobiology, for 20 young scientists from developing countries. The course was organized by Herminia Pasantes-Morales (on behalf of the Committee for Deprived and Third-World Nations) and the scientific programme was in the skilful hands of Eric Barnard. The most recent initiative is the I.S.N. Summer School for young scientists (agreed budget, $ 50,000) on aspects of the neurochemistry of calcium, held immediately before the Montpellier meeting.

The Society has survived and prospered now for 25 years, and we must be aware of the potentially sclerotic dangers of that success. Some of the problems of the early years which have hopefully been described as honestly and objectively as possible, were due to the finest of basic human frailties. Those who have been fortunate enough to generate progress in science or its organised activities tend then to become conservative in the sense that they find it difficult to perceive any improvement in what has been successfully generated and may therefore be reluctant to adapt to new ideas, ideals and motivations in changing societies, cultures and environments. In the best and most idealistic social structures, there is always the perception amongst the young that there is domination by the older established "fuddy duddies"; and amongst the elders, that the young, while well motivated, have not yet been able to accumulate the experience and wisdom of their elders. An ideal society finds the wisdom and mechanisms to combine these two not necessarily conflicting trends : the thrust of youthful enthusiasm with the tempering wisdom of the old. Our society now actively encourages suggestions from the membership for new initiatives in using its wealth to further the discipline of neurochemistry academically and globally.

May the ISN thus continue wisely and long may it survive to support the communication of fundamental research in neurochemistry, and to further the contribution of neurochemistry to our understanding of the nervous system and its disorders.